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Iran rejects ‘baseless’ UK, US accusations on Yemen missiles

Press TV – April 18, 2018

Iran has firmly rejected fresh US and British allegations of Tehran sending missiles to Yemen, saying the two are seeking to whitewash their “shameful” complicity in the crisis gripping the war-torn country by leveling “false” charges against others.

“The US and UK complicity in Yemen crisis is shameful,” Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations said in a press release on Tuesday.

The Iranian mission was reacting to remarks by the American and British ambassadors to the UN, Nikki Haley and Karen Pierce during a Security Council meeting on Yemen earlier in the day.

Haley claimed that Iran was interfering in the Yemeni affairs and violating the arms embargo on the impoverished state. Pierce also accused Tehran of “non-compliance with Security Council Resolution 2216.”

The Iranian mission, however, said the American and British officials had “repeated their derogatory allegations about Iran to cover up their own role in the disastrous situation created in Yemen. Iran categorically rejects those allegations as baseless propaganda.”

“The fact is that the war of aggression of Saudi Arabia in Yemen is the main underlying reason for the escalation of the crisis. It is regrettable that Saudi Arabia and its warmonger supporters, as the main party responsible for such a catastrophic humanitarian situation, are trying to cover up their shameful crimes by introducing false charges against others or trying to spread the crisis beyond Yemen’s borders,” it added.

“The US and UK are enjoying a blood business in Yemen now” by providing bombs to the Saudi warplanes that are targeting Yemeni civilians, the Iranian mission added.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war in March 2015 in support of Yemen’s former Riyadh-friendly government and against the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is currently running state affairs.

The military campaign has killed and injured over 600,000 civilians, according to the latest figures released by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights.

Several Western countries, the US and the UK in particular, are accused of being complicit in the aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes, Militarism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Syria’s Raqqa devastated, ‘de-facto occupied & run by a gang of incompetents’ – Russia’s UN envoy

RT | April 18, 2018

The US and its allies are doing practically nothing to help rebuild Raqqa, which is de-facto occupied, Russia’s UN Ambassador told the UNSC, after a UN representative reported on the mass-scale devastation of the Syrian city.

On average, an estimated 50 people a week are being killed in Raqqa, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator told members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), noting that virtually nothing is being done for some 100,000 repatriates who have returned to the destroyed city.

“Conditions are not conducive for return, due to a high level of unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive device (IED) contamination, and widespread and severe infrastructural damage and the lack of basic services,” Mark Lowcock said, reporting on the UN team’s findings after its April 1 visit to the Syrian city. “Up to 95 percent of households who have returned to Raqqa are food-insecure. Health services are lacking or severely limited.”

Noting that between 70-80 percent of buildings in Raqqa are “destroyed or damaged,” Lowcock called on the countries to act and help the residents of the city once proclaimed as the unofficial capital of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist caliphate and later “liberated” by the US-led international coalition.

The situation in Raqqa, destroyed during a four-month battle that ended in October 2017, remains “disastrous,” Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia said on Tuesday, after Moscow requested holding an open UN Security Council briefing on the humanitarian situation in Raqqa and the Rukban refugee camp on the border with Jordan.

“Rebuilding the city that was destroyed by airstrikes is not taking place. People have been returning at their own risk and are often being killed by mines and IEDs,” Nebenzya noted, reaffirming the observations voiced by Lowcock.

“American occupation hasn’t brought anything positive to the inhabitants. The only effective solution to the current situation is to reestablish state structures in Raqqa,” the envoy added, noting that people in the “de-facto occupied territory” have started to protest against the US presence there.

The city, recaptured by the Syrian Democratic Forces, is now under the loose control of the US-supported militias. Reconstruction of Raqqa and its suburbs is being carried out through a network of local councils, which Nebenzia called a gang of “completely incompetent people.”

“How can we entrust them with people’s safety and security?” he asked. “Raqqa is in ruins. Literally, there isn’t a building left standing. Thousands of bodies are still buried under the ruins.”

The Russian ambassador condemned the American-led intervention in Syria, noting that the April 14 strikes by the US-France-UK “troika” only set back the reconciliation process in a country ravished by a seven-year-old war. Moscow believes that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that countries must work together to aid the peace process.

“By their acts of aggression, the troika, and those who supported or welcomed their actions considerably set back Geneva negotiations,” the diplomat said. “If the goal is to force the Syrian President under a hail of bombs to sit at the negotiation table, presented as a victory over him… such a task is not feasible… there should be no illusions.”

‘Go back to Raqqa & bury bodies’: Putin calls for investigation into strikes on civilians in Syria

The Russian ambassador urged all states to stop attempts to create “new realities” in Syria that undermine its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Nebenzia also demanded that the US and its allies stop “aggressive hatred rhetoric” addressed at Syria and Russia, and to cut out requests calling for regime change in Damascus. Militants, for their part, must refrain from provocations, including the use of chemical weapons, and drop attempts to provoke further “external aggression,” he added.

Meanwhile, the US called the UN meeting a farce, orchestrated by Moscow in an attempt to “distract” the international community from Bashar Assad’s crimes.

“Russia has called us here as part of a messaging campaign to try to distract from the atrocities committed by the regime,” deputy US Ambassador to the UN, Kelley Currie, said. “In order to do that, Russia has asked this council to focus its attention on the one part of Syria where the Assad regime isn’t pummeling civilians to death with barrel bombs or banned chemical weapons.”

April 18, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan: Arab occupational force and Arabs will pay for it – report

RT | April 17, 2018

Washington reportedly wants Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar to replace the US in terms of troop deployments and funding in “stabilizing northeastern Syria,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The US currently has two major points of military presence on the ground in Syria: one on the border with Jordan in the south and one in northeastern Syria in an area controlled by the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Force (SDF). President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw American troops from Syria, apparently dismayed by the cost of the operation. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration wants to shift the burden of occupying northeastern Syria – which is touted as an effort to stabilize the area by the newspaper – to Arab countries.

The WSJ says John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser, called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if the Arab nation with the largest standing army was willing to contribute to the planned changing of guard. Washington also asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars into a buildup in northern Syria and asked to send troops as well.

“The mission of the regional force would be to work with the local Kurdish and Arab fighters the US has been supporting to ensure Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] cannot make a comeback and preclude Iranian-backed forces from moving into former Islamic State territory, US officials say,” according to the newspaper.

The plan is apparently meant as an easy way out for America, which found itself in a perilous situation in Syria, having troops there with no legal ground and balancing amid countering goals and interests. For instance, Washington’s NATO partner Turkey sees America’s Syrian Kurd allies as terrorists and a legitimate target for military action.

However, having the Americans replaced with other foreign troops would entail challenges, too. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are otherwise preoccupied with their stalled military involvement in Yemen and may find it politically awkward to deploy troops alongside Qatar, a nation they accuse of supporting terrorism and of being close to Iran.

Egypt’s troops are busy fighting against jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula in the east and securing the lengthy desert border with Libya in the west. Both regions became major security threats after the events of the Arab Spring, during which Libya was reduced with the help of NATO to a patchwork of warring militant groups. Egypt suffered several years of political turmoil and a military coup, after which the supporters of Muslim Brotherhood found themselves under government pressure again.

The willingness of the Kurds to accept foreign Arab troops is far from certain. With some Syrian Kurds already feeling betrayed by the US over Washington’s failure to protect them from Turkey, getting a foreign Arab force deployed near their lands may be too much to swallow. Especially since some of the Islamist groups that the Kurds fought against during the seven-year war were funded and armed by the same Arab countries.

The WSJ also points out that cost reduction expected by the replacement may not be as big as the Trump administration hopes. The Arab expeditionary force would still require air support, logistical supply and possibly at least some presence of US troops among their ranks.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada should support peace in Syria, not US missiles

The US has once again flagrantly violated international law. Without UN approval, they launched dozens of airstrikes on Syria.

Ottawa immediately supported the US bombing. In a statement Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people.”

Over the past week the Trudeau government has helped lay the foundation for the US-led attack. Twenty-four hours after the alleged April 7 attack foreign minister Chrystia Freeland put out a statement claiming, “the repeated and morally reprehensible use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in the past has been confirmed by independent international investigators…. Canada condemns the Assad regime—and its backers, Russia and Iran—for its‎ repeated, gross violations of human rights and continued, deliberate targeting of civilians.” Without presenting any evidence of the alleged chemical weapons use in Douma, Freeland said on Friday “when it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime.”

In her initial statement Freeland expressed Canada’s “admiration for … the White Helmets.” Also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, the White Helmets produced the video purporting to show chemical weapons use in Douma.

On Friday Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claimed the White Helmets staged the video with help from the UK. Former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford largely endorsed Moscow’s position.

Credited with rescuing people from bombed out buildings, the White Helmets have long fostered opposition to Assad and promoted western intervention. The White Helmets operated almost entirely in areas of Syria occupied by the Saudi Arabia–Washington backed Al Nusra/Al Qaeda rebels and other jihadist groups. They criticized the Syrian government and disseminated images of its violence while largely ignoring those targeted by the opposition. Their members were repeatedly photographed with Al Qaeda-linked Jihadists and reportedly enabled their executions.

Canada has provided significant support to the White Helmets. Two weeks ago Global Affairs Canada announced they “provided $12 million for groups in Syria, such as the White Helmets, that are saving lives by providing communities with emergency response services and removing explosives.” At that time White Helmet representatives were in Ottawa to meet with government officials and in late 2016 Global Affairs Canada sponsored a five-city White Helmets tour of Canada.

The White Helmets received at least $23 million US from USAID. The British, Dutch, German and French governments have also provided the group with tens of millions of dollars. The White Helmets are closely associated with the Syria Campaign, which was set up by a British billionaire of Syrian descent, Ayman Asfari, actively opposed to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

The conflict in Syria is multilayered and messy. Thousands of US and Turkish troops are in the country in contravention of the UN charter. Similarly, Israel has bombed Syria more than 100 times since the outbreak of the conflict and continues to illegally occupy part of its territory. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have plowed billions of dollars worth of weaponry and other forms of support to opposition rebels while the CIA spent a billion dollars backing anti-Assad groups.

On a number of occasions Ottawa has denounced Iran, Hezbollah and Russia’s substantial support of Assad, but they’ve ignored the significant role the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Israel have played in the conflict. In fact, Ottawa has ramped up arms sales to Saudi Arabia and deepened its ties to Israel and the US in recent years.

Syrians needs an end to fighting. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions more displaced over the past seven years of conflict. The US, which unleashed sectarian war in Iraq, bears significant responsibility for the horrors in that country. Syria requires political negotiation, the withdrawal of foreign troops and a real arms embargo, not more bombing and violations of international law.

Canadians should oppose the Trudeau government’s support for the recent US air strikes.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Pentagon Does Not Have Evidence of Chlorine, Sarin Use in Syria’s Douma – Mattis

Sputnik – 12.04.2018

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has told lawmakers that the US military is still “assessing the intelligence” on the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma, and that President Trump has yet to decide whether to launch strikes against the Middle Eastern country.

“There have been a number of these attacks. In many cases, you know we don’t have troops, we’re not engaged on the ground there, so I cannot tell you that we had evidence, even though we had a lot of media and social media indicators that either chlorine or sarin were used,” Mattis said, speaking to members of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

The defense secretary said he did believe that a chemical attack took place, but that the US was still “looking for the actual evidence.”

“We’re still assessing the intelligence, ourselves and our allies. We’re still working on this,” he reiterated.

Warning that he was concerned that a US strike might lead to an “out of control” escalation in the Syrian war, Mattis said that Washington was “committed to ending that war through the Geneva process through the UN-orchestrated effort.”

“On a strategic level, [the issue is] how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that,” he said, alluding to the prospects of a confrontation between Russian and US forces deployed in the Middle Eastern country.

No Decision Yet

According to Secretary Mattis, President Trump has yet to decide whether or not to launch an attack. “We’ve not yet made any decision to launch military attacks into Syria,” he said.

“I don’t want to talk about a specific attack that is not yet in the offing, knowing that this would be pre-decisional. Again, the president has not made that decision,” he added.

No Congressional Approval Needed

Mattis said he would discuss Syria options at a National Security Council meeting later Thursday, and promised to keep lawmakers informed if the Pentagon did decide to attack. He added, however, that the White House has the authority to conduct strikes without seeking Congressional approval.

Asked if the US was ready to mount an attack, Mattis replied that “We stand ready to provide military options if they’re appropriate, as the president determined.” … Full article

April 12, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Illegal Occupation | , | 2 Comments

US to Launch a Sustained Operation in Syria

By Arkady SAVITSKY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 11.04.2018

The events in Syria are likely to escalate into a regional conflict. USS Donald Cook already deployed in the Mediterranean can deliver a limited missile attack against Syria but a large-scale operation is unlikely to be launched until USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group (CSG) arrives in roughly 10-14 days. The CSG left the home base in Norfolk on April 11. The land strike-capable USS Porter can reach the Syria’s shore pretty soon. USS Laboon and USS Carney, two more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, as well as USS Georgia and USS John Warner submarines, are in close proximity to add more punch if an order to strike is given.

The composition of the carrier group includes at least five warships (one cruiser and 4 destroyers) capable of cruise missile attacks against land targets. Each US destroyer or cruiser can carry over 50 land attack missiles. It could be more, depending on the mission. USS Georgia is an Ohio class submarine (SSGN) to carry 154 land attack missiles. USS John Warner is a Virginia-class submarine to carry 12 Tomahawks. The USS Iwo Jima amphibious strike group can deploy to Syria in a few days from the Arabian Sea.

The UK, France, perhaps some other NATO and Middle East allies, including Israel, will join a US-led operation in Syria. The British Air Force can operate from Cyprus. A RAF KC2 air tanker is already there. The talks between the US, the UK and France are underway. Syrian armed forces are taking precautionary measures expecting strikes any time now.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hailey, sounds like if a sustained operation, not a one-off strike, is a done deal. The envoy says America will strike with or without a UN resolution. The voices are heard calling for striking Syrian command and control sites as well as “regime’s political centers”, despite the fact that where Russian advisers could be there. That’s something the US military has not done before.

A proposal to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty to contain Moscow without military actions has been floated. No actual war, but Russia will be considered an enemy. John Bolton’s warnings that an Islamic State ouster would allow Syrian President Assad to remain in power, with Iranian influence intact in Iraq are remembered to bolster the calls for action. In 2015, the newly appointed national security adviser called for carving out an independent Sunni Muslim state in northeastern Syria and western Iraq. He has his chance now.

A US-led multinational operation in Syria has become a predominant idea in Washington. On April 10, President Trump postponed his visit to Latin America because of the events in Syria. One can assume that the provocation in Douma was staged to make President Trump reconsider the decision to pull forces out in favor of confronting Russia, Syria and Iran. Those who did it hoped the US president would bite it. And bite he did.

There is no way to get rid of Assad but launch an international invasion. Washington’s global standing has received a strong blow after the unimpressive operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A US-led intervention could boost it if it were a success. America would present itself as a defender of Syrians suffering from the “atrocities of Assad’s dictatorship”. Heading an international coalition would help restore America’s image as the world leader. This is the way to make Washington a friend of Sunni Muslims who allegedly need protection from Tehran.

Invading Syria is the way to weaken Iran’s influence in Iraq. Such an operation would meet the goals of the Russia containment policy. An intervention could bring the US-led force and Turkey together in their desire to oust Assad. That would distance Ankara from Moscow, which will not leave its Syrian ally in lurch. From Washington’s view, these are the pros to bolster the plan to invade.

And now about the cons. After the failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, you name it, the US would once again get tied up in the messy situation in the region. It may need to go beyond the Syria’s borders. For instance, the US-led coalition would have to strike Hezbollah in Lebanon. There is a big chance the US and its allies would get involved in another protracted bloody war with no final victory in sight.

Suppose, the intervention ends up as a quick, victorious operation in purely military terms, what about the prospects of winning war to lose peace, like in Iraq? Washington will be responsible for the outcome of nation building in a country divided along religious and ethnical lines. The US will be rebuked for failure and accused of depriving Syria of the chance provided by the Astana peace process. Invading Syria means fighting Iranians. The Washington’s goal is to incite them to rebellion. An invasion of Syria could backlash to make all Iranian people united behind the ayatollahs’ regime.

Finally, invading Syria is a great risk as Russia would not stand idly if the lives of its servicemen were threatened there. The possibility of clash will grow immensely. But if the US-coalition applies de-confliction efforts, there will be no containment. To the contrary, the world will see that Moscow cannot be ignored. It isn’t now. Despite all the tensions souring, Russia’s Chief of General Staff will meet the NATO Supreme Commander in a few days. No doubt, they will discuss Syria.

If Iran gets united and stronger, Russia remains to be an actor to reckon with, nation building fails and Assad keeps on fighting back to make the coalition suffer casualties, then there will be only cons with no pros. And that will take place against the background of failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Risks are too great to ask the question – why should the US get involved in the faraway Syria’s conflict at all? By no stretch of imagination could such an operation be considered a move to enhance US and West’s security and meet the goals of “America First” policy.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

Bashar Jaafari Challenges Nikki Haley On WMD

Syriana Analysis | April 10, 2018

Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar Jaafari raises important questions during UNSC session on Monday, 9 April 2018 to discuss reports of an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria.

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Douma Chemical Attack: Another Link in the Chain of Staged Provocations

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 09.04.2018

What happened in Syria on April 7 had been expected. While raising hue and cry over the alleged chemical attack in Douma, a rebel-held suburb of the capital, Western officials and media wasted no time to put the blame on the Assad government.

The US State Department issued a statement saying that by shielding Damascus Moscow has breached its international commitments. The administration immediately called on Russia to cease its support of Syria’s government. President Trump wants an international action. As usual, few people in the West raised their voices to emphasize the need to investigate first and make conclusions afterwards.

It strikes the eye that Moscow’s warnings about a CW provocation being prepared to dash the rising hopes for peaceful settlement in Syria appear to be forgotten! The Defense Ministry shared the information that the ringleaders of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army were plotting false flag chemical attacks in areas under their control. Moscow warned but the West did not listen.

It’s the same old song and dance. Last year, the Syrian government was blamed for a sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhun that prompted a US cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base. The American president’s approval ratings went up as a result. This time, the alleged attack occurred right after the Russia-Turkey-Iran summit that took place in Ankara on April 4 to promote the Syria conflict settlement.

As before, all “evidence” boils down to White Helmets’ report and a video going viral that does not look or sound very convincing. There was no independent verification. The White Helmets have iffy reputation, to put it mildly. The organization is known to pursue political interests of outside actors.

No explanation was given to a simple question: what does Syria’s government need this attack for? It is victorious everywhere and the operation in Eastern Ghouta has been a success. Douma is the last remaining stronghold still controlled by rebels in the area and will be liberated soon. It’s a matter of a few days. The army’s combat actions are supported by Russian aviation. What does Syria’s government stand to gain by using CW? Nothing.

Syria army units are operating in Douma. By launching an attack, the Syrian government would hit its own troops, This argument appears to be largely missing in Western media reports. President Trump has recently promised to withdraw American forces from Syria. Why would President Assad give him a pretext to renege on his word?

But the world “indignation” against Russia-supported President Assad benefits the extremists a lot. They are cornered and need time to take a breath and receive support. Actually, the ballyhoo raised in the West is their only chance to at least slow down the offensive. A government forces’ victory in Douma would deal a heavy blow to terrorist groups, sounding the death knell for the rebellion. Sounds simple but that’s what it is. There is each and every reason to believe the incident was staged by terrorists.

Right after the alleged attack, they asked for talks. The ringleaders believe that this is their chance for a negotiated truce. The militants keep their fingers crossed hoping that NATO member states which clandestinely support them will get involved one way or another. Just last February, Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned Syria of “dire consequences” if it executed chemical strikes. French President Macron said he would order strikes if CW were used. It’s worth noting that today the US president’s National Security Team is led by a person known as a trigger happy hawk advocating the use of force as a foreign policy tool.

The US and France have been harboring plans to launch a joint operation in Syria for some time. Only a few days ago, a contingent of French forces arrived in Manbij to join American allies there. Actually, a NATO operation has been launched leaving Turkey, a bloc’s member, out in the cold. It’s an open secret that the US-led coalition pursues the goal of partitioning Syria to “contain” Russia, roll back Iran, win the support of rich Persian Gulf Arab states to boost lucrative arms trade and bolster the US and France’s clout in the Middle East.

It would be naïve to think that the chemical attack in Syria and the Skripal scandal are two separate events. They are links in the same chain. With the spy poisoning case leading nowhere, the anti-Russia campaign needs a new impetus. The alleged CW attack is a good pretext to spur the efforts. But any strike in Syria would pose a risk to the lives of Russian servicemen. It could make Moscow respond. The US-led coalition is playing with fire. And as in the Skripal case, the reaction is the same – blame first, wait for the results of investigation second. It just shows that the West is not interested in the truth. It’s looking for new pretexts to damage Russia’s reputation and thus reduce its global clout.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Douma Chemical Attack: Timeline of facts so far

By Kit | OffGuardian | April 8, 2018

A brief post, collating all the known events surrounding the build up to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria on the 7/8th of April 2018.

  • February-April 2018: The Syrian Arab Army has been making quick, decisive gains on the ground in recent weeks. Eastern Ghouta has all but fallen. Barring foreign intervention, the Syrian government’s victory is now all but assured.
  • March 13th 2018 Russian military command claims US is aiming to strike Damascus on an “invented pretext”. Advises them against it.
  • March 13th 2018 Syrian forces reported finding caches of chemical weapons in labs around liberated areas of Ghouta.
  • March 19th 2018 Russian and Syrian military figures reported they feared the rebels would stage a “false flag” chemical attack in order to drag US/NATO into action in Syria.
  • March 30th 2018 Donald Trump told a crowd at a speech in Ohio – and later repeated in a tweet – that the USA would be pulling out of Syria “very soon.” This is met with consternation in the capital and across the media.
  • April 6th 2018 UNSC meeting convened – at Russian request – to discuss the alleged attack in Salisbury, UK. Every member of the UNSC who spoke was categorical in their condemnation of any use of chemical weapons.
  • Night of April 7th/morning of April 8th… a chemical attack is reported by the US/UK funded “White Helmets”. The US blames Syrian govt. and holds Russia “responsible”.

With these facts as they are, we should ask a few questions:

1. Why, with the current international focus on chemical weapons, why would Assad hurt his cause by attacking a non-military target with chemical weapons?

2. With global political discussion focusing more on Saudi Arabian war on Yemen, the Skripal attack, and Israeli violence against Palestinians, why would Assad choose this moment to conduct a chemical attack and potentially distract from these issues?

3. The Syrian Arab Army is currently operating in Douma, why would Assad risk dropping chemical weapons that could hit his own troops?

4. The POTUS has publicly stated he intends to pull out of Syria “very soon”. Why would the Syrian Government endanger this development?

5. Cui bono? Who has the most to gain from this chemical attack? The SAA, who are already winning the war, or the cornered jihadist forces in desperate need of aid and air support?

April 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

Turkey: France’s buildup in Syria will amount to ‘invasion’

Press TV – April 8, 2018

Turkey which has deployed troops to northern Syria says if France steps up its military presence in the Arab country, it will amount to an “invasion.”

“If France takes any steps regarding its military presence in northern Syria, this would be an illegitimate step that would go against international law and in fact, it would be an invasion,” Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said Saturday.

Turkey sent troops to the northern Syrian region of Afrin on January 20 to force out Kurdish militants, known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it suspects of having ties with anti-Ankara separatists.

France, which has criticized Ankara over the offensive, operates in Syria as part of the so-called US coalition.

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a delegation of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has the YPG as its backbone, at the Elysee Palace on March 29.

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan railed against Paris. “France, you are abetting terrorism, supporting it by then hosting them at the Elysee Palace,” he said.

“Especially, if they intend to support terror group elements or give direct or indirect protection with armed forces, this would be a really calamitous step,” Canikli said during a visit to the northeastern province of Giresun.

After the Paris meeting, Kurdish officials said France was planning to send new troops to the city of Manbij, also in northern Syria.

Paris has also threatened to attack Syria if it was established that Damascus had deployed chemical weapons in its military operation, an accusation strongly rejected by the Syrian government.

Turkey, which has pushed the YPG out of Afrin, has also threatened to extend its operation to Manbij, which hosts American forces.

Ankara has further locked horns with Washington on several occasions over the latter’s providing arms, training, and logistical support to the Kurds.

April 8, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

France Joins Syria Fight: Goals and Consequences

French Armed Forces, armed with FAMAS F1 assault rifles, participate in the Memorial Day ceremony at the LaFayette Escadrille Monument in Paris, France.
By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 05.04.2018

French President Emmanuel Macron kept his word. On April 1-2, French troops moved into northern Syria. This is the first time France deployed substantial forces there to turn Paris into a new actor actively involved in the war. The troops advanced toward Manbij and Remelin to join American allies and did it hastily.

The move was made at the time Ankara warned about the plans to control this territory with Russia, Turkey and Iran working together to define Syria’s future. It significantly changes the situation and makes one ask questions about the goals pursued by the US and France and the prospects for war and peace in the conflict-torn country. Summing up the recent events leads to the conclusion that the US and France have a hidden agenda to expand the conflict, wreak havoc and stymie the Russia-led peace efforts.

The news about French deployment came just before the April 4 Russia-Turkey-Iran summit in Ankara stated the goal to “speed up their efforts to ensure calm on the ground” in Syria. On April 3, US President Donald Trump said he would “decide very quickly” to remove forces from that country. The statement was made right after about 300 US Marines accompanied by armored vehicles and engineering equipment were moving toward Manbij as reinforcements to repel possible Turkish inroads. The construction of two bases in Syria’s northern Manbij region is underway.

The Marines have already launched daily patrols along the Sajur River, a tributary that feeds the Euphrates River from sources in Turkey, with observation posts built to monitor the area. This is unheard of – two leading states of the North Atlantic Alliance blocked the other NATO member’s land access to Manbij! On April 3, CNN reported that plans to send reinforcements have been discussed for several days before Trump’s remarks on leaving Syria soon.

The US also wasted no time to press Iraq into sending its 5th Army Division to Sinjar province and line the forces on the Iraqi-Syrian border to obstruct the possible advance of Turkish army from Syria into Iraq.

Obviously, the US is trying to partition Syria while creating a quasi-state on the eastern bank of the Euphrates and up to the Iraqi border. In Deir-ez-Zor, the US-led coalition resists the restoration of Syrian government institutions. It makes one think that the words about “leaving soon” may be nothing more than wishful thinking or an attempt to baffle those who are trying to predict further steps America will take.

The list of goals includes controlling the oil fields and chunks of the territory. Donald Trump wants Saudi Arabia to pay for US operations in Syria and it probably will. If the decision to leave were taken, he wouldn’t raise the question. According to the president, Saudi Arabia is interested in America staying in Syria.

That’s what the US “rocking from side to side” foreign policy is like. Rex Tillerson is fired to make the world know about it from tweets. The US wants to leave Syria but will stay if Saudi Arabia pays. Donald Trump invited the Russian leader to visit him in Washington against the background of Russia diplomats expelled and the consulate office in Seattle closed. Is it being short-sighted or far-sighted? Is this swinging back and forth a well-thought over policy or no policy at all? Is it done on purpose to keep everyone guessing with no predictions possible? You never know. Donald Trump once denounced Saudi Arabia as extremist and then sold a huge package of weapons while calling the kingdom a great friend and close ally against Iran.

The Syrian forces are preparing an offensive in the Daraa – Quneira – Suweida area in the south while denuding other fronts. The territory is huge and the terrain is hard to cross. There are at least 25 heights to fire at advancing forces from. The Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups are much more numerous than the ones being defeated in Eastern Ghuta. Their defenses are strong. Unlike in other places, the rebel forces can easily get logistical support from Jordan. That’s where the US and Saudi Arabia can contribute greatly. Israel has been involved in such activities since 2015. It took roughly six months to liberate Eastern Ghuta, with an active phase to dislodge rebel fighters launched in mid-March. It’s easy to surmise that it will take at least a year, may be much more, to liberate the area in question.

A conflict is easy to provoke. The operations of Syria’s government forces aimed at cutting off supplies coming from Jordan could be presented as an act of aggression against the Hashemite Kingdom. Chemical substances could be transported from Jordan to stage another provocation used as a pretext to attack Syria.

The operation could become a war of attrition to make Syria concentrate more and more of its forces in one place at the expense of other battlefields. They will be stuck there for a considerable period of time. That’s when the US-coalition will be in good position to attack anywhere it wants using the base of Al-Tanf as a springboard. Manbij as well as the Al-Tabka air base located to the south of Raqqa are perfect places for launching an offensive to drive Syria out from Aleppo. Then the country will plunge again into an “all-against-all” fight.

The efforts applied so far by Russia, Turkey and Syria will go down the drain. This time the US will not be alone to have substantial presence on the ground. It’s hard to imagine that the French forces arrived in Syria could be anything but the start of broader NATO presence with other members of the bloc to follow the French example. Russian military personnel and NATO soldiers will be looking at each other through the sights of guns. This scenario will be fraught with a great risk of international military conflict and a real tragedy for Syrian people but those who are provoking it don’t care.

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Newly Revealed Docs Shed Light on UK’s Intervention in Russia During WWI

Sputnik | April 4, 2018

British military intervention in Russia in 1918-1919 was unlawful and indefensible, British government papers held by the National Archives reveal. It turned Russian public attitudes towards Britain from friendly to hostile.

In March 1918 the Bolshevik government signed a peace treaty with Germany, as they had promised to the nation exhausted by four years of the devastating and senseless WWI. The Russian Revolution was triggered by the overwhelming public desire for peace. The war-weary Russian army simply could not carry on fighting. Britain and France immediately accused Russia of betraying the Allied cause and sent in their troops. In a show of “solidarity” reminiscent of today, a dozen Anglo-French allies took part in the armed intervention in Russia. The official excuse was to keep the Eastern front against Germany and protect the Russian war materiel from falling into German hands.

The map of foreign military intervention in Russia in 1918-1919.

In reality, the British, the French, the Americans, the Japanese and many others fought the locals, engaging in “frolics” and “high handed behaviour,” according to British government papers.

The legality of their action under international law was not considered until 1972 when the British government, locked in a dispute with Moscow over mutual debts, sought advice from a Foreign Office legal counselor, Eileen Denza. The advice was damning of London’s actions and was kept under wraps for a long time.

“In my own view there is no legal justification for any of the major incidents of intervention by British forces,” Ms. Denza wrote in her paper. “Nor have I formed an impression from … research from such original sources as Foreign Office archives and Cabinet documents that any consideration whatsoever was given at the time to the legal aspects of the matter by those in London, or by the army commanders while they were actually in Russia.”

© Photo: Crown copyright National Archives, UK
FCO Legal Councellor paper on legality of British intervention in Russia

Ms. Denza had explored possible avenues for defending the British intervention but failed to find any convincing arguments.

Argument 1. Certain incidents of intervention took place at the invitation of a Russian government which Britain then recognized as a de facto government.

This, Ms. Denza said, would cover the intervention in Estonia [which Britain helped break away from Russia — NG] but not any of the other occasions on which British troops landed in Russia. Britain did recognize the Russian Provisional government after the overthrow of the Tsar in March 1917, but after it was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in November Britain gave no indication that she continued to recognize it. Indeed, when its premier Kerensky visited Britain later he was treated as a refugee, and not as a prime minister of a government in exile or of a government which London continued to recognize de jure.

“We did business with the Bolsheviks,” Ms. Denza reminded the British government. “We kept consular relations until well after intervention had begun, and the Prime Minister’s envoy, Bruce Lockhart, was … accorded diplomatic privileges and immunities [which he abused — NG]”.

Initially Lockhart devoted a great deal of effort to securing a Bolshevik invitation to the Allies to intervene, but when he failed in this he advised the British government to intervene anyway. He started plotting for the overthrow of the Bolsheviks, and channeled his energy into persuading the reluctant US President Woodrow Wilson to support the British and Japanese intervention in the North and Far East of Russia.

Argument 2. The intervention was intended to protect British lives and property.

There was no British community in Russia to speak of.

“The question of defence of British property was never raised or put forward at any stage,” wrote the FCO legal counselor, “and it had always been clearly understood that it was intervention which led the Bolsheviks (who began by being friendly to Britain) to take much more extremist measures against property generally and to adopt the position that no compensation would ever be paid to the Allies in respect of their expropriated property, since it was the necessity caused by external pressures and Allied intervention which had made it necessary to seize foreign property on such a scale.”

Argument 3. The intervention was justifiable as an act of military necessity, or self-defense, in order to protect the Allied military position in the east after Russia’s withdrawal from the war following the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed with Germany in March 1918.

Britain at the time made a great deal in public that the motive for intervention was related entirely to the conduct of the war, and that there was no intention to intervene in the domestic affairs of Russia. However, once they arrived in Russia, the British and other Allied forces “did not limit their actions to cutting off supplies to the Germans,” wrote Ms. Denza. “They did not confine themselves to supporting factions which had clearly stated that once in power they would bring Russia back into the war.”

“In the main the commanders in the field seem to have gone off on frolics of their own with very little clear political coordination.” [Those “frolics” included bayoneting the locals to death, and forcing captured Russian gunners to turn their cannons on their compatriots, according to British commanders’ combat logs held by the National Archives — NG]

Excerpt from a British Dvina (North Russia) Force battle instructions issued on 5 August 1919

Report on British military operations in North Russia on September 7/8 1919

© Photo: Crown copyright National Archives UK
Excerpt from a British Dvina (North Russia) Force battle instructions issued on 5 August 1919

When large-scale intervention began in the summer of 1918 Britain withdrew its embryonic diplomatic and consular mission from Russia [thereby implying it was an invasion rather than intervention — NG].

Most important of all, Ms. Denza wrote, the intervention did not cease with the surrender of Germany in November 1918. Indeed the military justification for intervention, which could have existed during the many months when plans for intervention were being made and discussed “virtually ceased to exist very soon after our troops first went in [Russia — NG] in substantial numbers [shortly before Armistice — NG].”

Overall, the FCO legal counselor said, the British and Allied intervention in Russia painted “such a damning picture.”

“The immediate effect of the intervention was to prolong a bloody civil war,” wrote American historian James W Loewen, “thereby costing thousands of additional lives and wreaking enormous destruction on an already battered society.”

During the Anglo-Soviet debt negotiations in 1972-1973 this destruction was estimated to be between two and four billion pounds.

British government papers of the time record a flurry of Whitehall discussions on how to avoid admitting any liability for the damages caused by the unlawful intervention. As one note put it:

“I think it inevitable the Russians will raise the intervention claim in reaction to whatever HMG decides to do” [e.g., expropriate Russian gold held by Britain in payment for Russian debt — NG].

In this eventuality our aims should be:

(a)     To avoid admitting the unlawfulness of the intervention (this would be unacceptable)

(b)     To avoid discussing the lawfulness and morality of our part in the intervention (Mrs. Denza in her minute of 28 July has shown we could not win on this score); and hence

(c)     To minimize unfavourable press coverage.

© Photo: Crown copyright National Archives UK
FCO claims department note on avoiding liability for military intervention in Russia

Whatever the press coverage, the intervention did create very unfavorable attitudes towards Britain in Soviet Russia.

In 1921 a British Parliamentary Committee produced a report which included the following perceptive passage:

“There is evidence to show that, up to the time of military intervention the majority of the Russian intellectuals were well disposed towards the Allies, and more especially to Great Britain, but that later the attitude of the Russian people towards the Allies became characterised by indifference, distrust and antipathy.” [Report (Political and Economic) of the Committee to Collect Information on Russia; (Russia (No.1), 1921, Cmd. 1240]

American Historian William Henry Chamberlin, who was the Moscow correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor in the 1920-30s, wrote that the consequences of the intervention “were to poison East-West relations forever after, to contribute significantly to the origins of World War II and the later Cold War, and to fix patterns of suspicion and hatred on both sides which even today threaten worse catastrophes in time to come.”

God forbid his prophecy comes true…

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment